Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Perfect Gas Station

What is wrong with San Francisco? Besides all those other things you just thought of? I'll tell you - gas stations. I mean, the actual, physical setup of the structure and the odd amenities offered and not offered.

Ok, sure, there are plenty of wonderful attributes to this city I moved to almost two and a half months ago. But for all the fuss about reducing my carbon footprint and using public transit, sometimes I need to still drive my car to get to far away places or locations that public transit doesn't connect.

Besides, San Francisco is one of the most dense cities in the US - the streets are lined with cars that need to be taken care of and also need fuel.

Enter the confusing and inept world of SF gas stations.

Statement of disclosure: I have only been to four different stations in the city so far. I know an n=4 isn't great, but it's enough to get my complaints!

#1 why do you advertise the CASH price and not the credit? Because you want to trick me to your station, then laugh when I don't have cash. I never knew there was such a thing as gas CASH vs. gas CREDIT price. I had NEVER paid for gas with cash until I moved to this city. For those who don't know, the credit price is 30 cents more expensive PER GALLON!

#2 Why must you have payment "islands" instead of letting me pay at the fuel pump like every other gas station? Everyone must crowd around a central computing unit, and there are a surprising number of old ladies and foreign nationals that are confused by the endeavor.

#3 Why have a fee for using a debit card? Credit cards already charge me 30 cents extra PER GALLON! And if you don't have cash, you must pay a fee to use your debit card. Is this more incentive to pay with cash? Is there a big financial benefit for you to do this?

#4 Why do you have flat screen TVs at the pump but now towels or fluid so that I can wash my windshield? I thought that was one of the main staples at gas stations across the country - apparently not in San Francisco.

These are just a few of my frustrations in dealing with SF gas stations so far. If you have the answers to these, or any other quirky questions about gas stations on the left coast, please let me know. Otherwise, I will let you know when I find the first all-organic gas station. Oh, wait a minute...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Double the science, double the fun

Just inherited a nice PC monitor in my lab. Now I can do science TWICE as fast!